The outplacement industry has come a long way in its relatively short history, but like many sectors, it still has a long way to go. With the start of a new decade now is an opportune moment to look at where outplacement has come from and the emerging trends that will determine future changes and best practice.

Many say that outplacement gained its roots in the job counselling service offered post World War II that helped veterans with their re-entry back into the workforce. Though we have to fast forward to the 1960s to see the field of outplacement really come into its own.

The 1960s was, by all accounts, a decade of significant change and progression in the United States, so it’s no wonder that one of the first applications of outplacement was during this time when an oil plant closed in New Jersey.

Back then, and really in the 40 years following, the focus of outplacement was very much status-driven. In many ways, outplacement replicated the many features of a commercial workplace.

The physical surroundings of the company were important; this meant that most outplacement firms were based in the middle of the CBD. A hierarchy was prioritised, despite it being a time where flatter organisational structures were embraced. This meant ‘senior’ outplacement candidates had private offices while mid-level candidates used shared office spaces.

But fast forward to the early 2000s, and two things changed:

Competition in the outplacement space increased sharply. Incumbent players were caught off guard by challenger firms who were focused more on the participant journey than the size of the participant’s temporary outplacement office.

Employers started to realise that some employees were being made redundant for the second or third time, and a different outplacement experience was needed. It was around this time that the term outplacement became equally known as career transition.

Now that we know where outplacement has come from, where is it headed in this next decade and beyond? And what can you do as an organisation to make sure you are at the forefront with your outplacement service? Let’s look at the trends we see in outplacement and how that will determine best practice moving forward.

A growing ageing workforce

With a growing ageing workforce, more attention is and will need to be paid to outplacement programs that assist ageing employees in making better transitions into retirement. If this is not a service your outplacement partner is offering, you need to find one who does.

New skills needed for job seekers

With recruitment processes advancing, transitioning employees need new skills for their job search to give them a more competitive edge as a candidate. Candidates need to understand the importance of social media and how to use platforms like LinkedIn as part of a job search process. They also need to know how to get past automated hiring processes and write resumes and cover letters that get past recruitment bots.

Outplacement by design

With greater competition for jobs, outplacement participants need a flexible, individual journey through transition. This has resulted in the rise of “outplacement by design”. A one-size-fits-all approach does not work for staff of all levels, particularly when they are at different life stages with different priorities and career goals.

Coaching that builds stronger employees not just successful candidates

Redundancy can shake people to the core and bring out a wide range of emotions that can negatively impact future career success. As such, your outplacement provider will not only need to provide services that equip employees with necessary job search skills but also apply a coaching framework that will help employees navigate change, rebuild their confidence and develop resilience. This will create better, stronger, more agile employees moving forward.

If employers want to keep their reputation as good employers, they need to select their outplacement partners not only on price alone but on the value of the entire outplacement program. This includes price, program flexibility and the quality of the coaching delivery.

Need help transitioning your staff? Want to find out more about best practice in outplacement? Call us today on 1300 27 83 45.